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Post-Heart Attack Exercise May Depend on Where You Live

TUESDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Heart attack survivors who live in poor neighborhoods get less exercise than those in wealthier neighborhoods, a new study finds.

Regular exercise after a heart attack is known to improve the chances of survival, the Israeli researchers noted.

In the study, the investigators followed 1,410 heart attack survivors for more than 10 years to assess their levels of leisure-time physical activity. Levels of leisure-time physical activity were low for the entire group of patients, with 33 percent to 37 percent reporting no physical activity and 19 percent to 27 percent reporting only occasional physical activity.

Patients in poor neighborhoods had the lowest levels of leisure-time physical activity, especially in the first five years after their heart attack, according to the study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

"Recommendations for physical activity should be supported by appropriate infrastructure, and the provision of free or low-cost sports facilities in areas of deprivation," noted lead investigator Yariv Gerber, of Tel Aviv University, in a journal news release.

"Exercise-based rehabilitation should be available to all [heart attack] survivors, with special efforts made to encourage participation in patients from deprived neighborhoods," Gerber continued. "Further research should investigate provision of services for [heart attack] survivors in order to reduce inequalities in post-[heart attack]health."

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute explains cardiac rehabilitation.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, news release, Aug. 2, 2011

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